When Sarah Wester looks at her life over the past several years, she sees a tapestry of God’s provision.
She’s debt free, and, because of that, she’s able to follow God’s call to a ministry she couldn’t otherwise do—she’s a youth director at a church plant that pays her a salary of $1 a year.
“I have a car that’s paid for, no student debt, and I work for my dad’s construction company so I can keep my $1 a year job,” she said, adding that she “never in a million years” could’ve done that without the help of college scholarships like the one she got from WMU.
“My parents were not really able to help me financially, so going to college started out as an uphill financial battle,” Sarah said. “God used WMU on my journey to help more than words would ever be able to accurately describe.”
And now, as she serves in Indiana alongside her father, a church planter for the North American Mission Board, she’s seeing God change lives. “What began as one youth God has turned into a thriving ministry with about thirty youth and three salvations and counting,” Sarah said. “I love youth ministry and have fallen in love with this kind of service.”
Sarah’s journey is just one of many impacted each year by WMU and WMU Foundation scholarships. During this academic year, 94 students are using a total of $93,287 in scholarships to help them fund their studies. Of those, 65 are missionary kids.
Bethany Russell said it’s given her the chance to gain a career she can take to other countries after she graduates from Northwestern State University College of Nursing in Natchitoches, Louisiana.
“Nursing school isn’t easy or cheap, and there have been times that I didn’t know how I was going to pay my tuition or rent,” she said. “But God has always provided the way and has continuously amazed me with the grace I have been given. The WMU Foundation scholarship has always come at the perfect time when I didn’t know how I could make it without God’s help.”
Brenna Luttrell, a student at Cumberland University, is another whose story is different because of WMU funds. “The WMU scholarship was such a huge blessing to me,” she said. “Since I did not have to take out a loan, I was able to put money towards a trip with the International Mission Board over Christmas break.”
She said the trip greatly impacted her and her relationship with God. “I will forever be thankful for WMU and the vital role it has played in shaping me into a woman of the Lord,” she said.
The scholarships strengthen pastors too, like Joel Kurz, who serves at a church in Baltimore. “As an inner-city pastor and seminary student, I needed help,” he said. “My church was unable to help pay for seminary, and my own finances were minimal. The WMU Foundation came alongside and helped through paying for a class. Their help was tremendous and allowed me to pay my bill.”
Since then, he’s graduated from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, with a master’s degree. “The WMU Foundation helped me get through seminary, and seminary education helped me become a better pastor,” Joel said.
To learn more about giving to WMU and WMU Foundation scholarships that help students like these, visit wmufoundation.com/scholarships-available. If you are a previous recipient of a WMU or WMU Foundation Scholarship and want to join the WMU/WMU Foundation Scholarship Alumni Society, please visit: wmufoundation.com/scholarshipalumni.
Written by Grace Thornton.